• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Critically discuss the view that eating disorders are caused by genetic and biological factors. With reference to the biological and genetic explanations whilst also trying to offer alternative explanations.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Critically discuss the view that eating disorders are caused by genetic and biological factors. With reference to the biological and genetic explanations whilst also trying to offer alternative explanations. Eating disorders are only one category of mental disorder but which affect the most amounts of people. Individuals with eating disorders have some problem with food for example they may over eat (obesity) or they may under eat (anorexia) or they may vomit repeatedly after binging on vast quantities of food (bulimia). There is evidence that such disorders may have a genetic basis but could also equally be triggered by biological factors. Anorexia Nervosa, to give it its full name, is literally a nervous lack of appetite. Brief explanations of some of the characteristics are as follows. - There is a deliberate and prolonged restriction of calorific intake and considerable weight loss with the weight usually falling to less than 85% of the person's normal weight. ...read more.

Middle

Most of them are within 10% of their correct body weight. But with every type of disease or condition there are always different schools of thought, which try to prove why the condition has occurred. Explanations for these two conditions can be proven via biological explanations. One type of biological explanation for anorexia is that there are biochemical abnormalities, i.e. the person may have disordered hormones. Secondly it may be because of damage to their neuroanatomy particularly damage to the hypothalamus which may result in loss of appetite, as well as disturbances to menstruation. But lastly and perhaps most importantly Genetic transmission which have had the most studies done on it. Holland et al (1988), found some evidence to form an opinion that anorexia is genetic. His aim was to find whether more MZ twins developed anorexia (twins which came form the same egg therefore 100% genetically similar), or DZ twins (twins which came from different eggs therefore were only 50% genetically similar). ...read more.

Conclusion

Firstly there are the biochemical abnormalities; decreased serotonin activity may be responsible for bulimia. People with bulimia suffer specifically from carbohydrate craving (Turner et al. 1991) and increased consumption of carbohydrates increases production of serotonin. This has led to the use of SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) in the treatment of bulimia. But again there is the theory of genetic transmission and a study with twins by Kendler et al. (1991) tried to prove this. It found that there was a 26% concordance rate for MZ twins and a 16% for DZ twins. This suggests that bulimia has a strong genetic component, but it is not as strong as that found in anorexia. About half of the variation in bulimia is due to genetic factors and half to environmental. But with all studies there are criticisms, twins may not be representative. Klump et al. (1999) studied individuals with eating disorders who were MZ, DZ or non-twins and found differences in the groups in terms of the symptoms. This suggests that twins may not be representative of the general population for eating disordered behaviour. Duncan Harvey ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Genetics, Evolution & Biodiversity section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Genetics, Evolution & Biodiversity essays

  1. The Biology of Autistic Spectrum Disorder and the Social Implications

    When money is handed over to facilities or departments it is what they do with the money that's important. So some questions need to be directed at the facilities or departments such as the NHS. The Right Training for Every Teacher As with the need for the right school for

  2. Cell Theory - Discuss the theory that living organisms are composed of cells.

    sapiens mays 4.4.5 Apply and/or design a key for a group of up to eight organisms. SEPARATE PAPER 4.5 Human Impact (2h) 4.5.1 Outline two local or global example of human impact causing damage to an ecosystem or the biosphere.

  1. Study the increasing cases of food allergies and intolerances in an attempt to establish ...

    The organ was then identified as an endocrine gland. By the beginning of the 20th century, this technique had clarified the role of numerous organs. Researchers had the idea that the pancreas was an endocrine gland, they encountered obstacles when trying to use this method to show that the pancreas produced the hormone responsible for controlling glucose metabolism.

  2. Colour variation in Littorina littoralis on the upper, middle and lower zones of a ...

    Hence, at one point in time, both predator and prey populations will increase. There will however come a time where the predators will be consuming large numbers of Littorina littoralis, and so their population decreases. Logically, a decrease in food source will be followed by a decrease in predator numbers through intraspecific competition.

  1. Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis

    Regardless of the methods, the results of PGD are used to inform the selection of embryos for transfer to a women's uterus. History PGD started originally in 1967 when Robert Edwards and David Gardner successfully sexed a rabbit blastocyst. This was the basic start of PGD, but it was not

  2. Describe the influences of genetic, environmental and socio - economic factors on the development ...

    It is DNA that carries our genetic code. Genes are passed from parent to child; these may contain defective genes, which could have been there for a long time however it could have also been produced during fertilisation. If both parents carry the defective gene their offspring will almost definitely contract it but if only one of the two parents has it, it is a lot less likely.

  1. Outline and Critique the Claim that GeneticTherapy is justified but Genetic Enhancement is not

    by genetic anomalies or deficiencies, by introducing specific engineered genes into a patient's cells. Genetic therapy is relatively new in medical technology and still being developed, but it delivers a bright hope for maintaining people health. Wikipedia indicates that although this technology is still in its infancy, it has been employed with some successes.

  2. Investigating the colour variation of Littorina littoralis and their abundance across the upper, middle ...

    mutation being beneficial to an organism's chances of survival are very low. For Littorina littoralis, its variation in shell colour will be the result of natural selection. The variety of colour in shells that exist now will have been the colours favourable towards its chances of survival.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work